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Archive for February, 2010

Agent Tangles With ATF Over Troubles With Hells Angels

Jay Dobyns/his website

Jay Dobyns/his website

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — From one vantage point, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Jay Dobyns still worries about the Hells Angels coming after him. From another, it’s his employer he’s more concerned about.

Dobyns infiltrated the Hells Angels from 2001 to 2003 in Arizona and wrote a New York Times best-seller about it last year. But now he’s locked in major legal fisticuffs with the ATF.

A $4 million lawsuit filed by the 23-year ATF veteran says the agency failed to abide by a 2007 written contract to protect him and his wife and two children against death threats from the Hells Angels. The suit, unfolding now in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, also says the agency failed to stop subjecting him to a hostile work environment for complaining about his safety.

In August 2008, Dobyns’ Tucson, Ariz., home burned to the ground in an apparent arson. Two months later, he filed the breach of contract lawsuit. He currently lives out West with his family and works for the ATF as a program manager in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

“I honestly think at this point ATF has no idea how to handle threats against employees,” the 48-year-old agent said in a phone interview with AOL News. “Their solution is to write a check and transfer the agent.”

“I’ve been harassed since I voiced a complaint with the agency that they were ignoring their obligations” to protect him and his family, he said.

On Jan. 15, Judge Francis Allegra ruled that the breach-of-contract case should move forward. The Justice Department and the ATF filed a counterclaim two weeks later saying it was Dobyns, not the government, who was in violation of the contract and asking that the case be dismissed.

The counterclaim said Dobyns had violated agency rules by failing to get permission before he published a book in 2009, “No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels,” and signed movie rights with MGM. The Justice Department has asked the judge to rule that Dobyns must forfeit all the proceeds from his outside projects to the government.

Dobyns insists he had been given approval.

The ATF declined comment. A Justice Department spokesman said today that the department had no comment.

The fall from hero to heel in the ATF came in measured steps. In 2001, Dobyns, with shaved head and a generous stream of tattoos, went deep undercover — meaning he stayed in character 24/7 and didn’t go home at the end of the day. He infiltrated the Hells Angels in what was called “Operation Black Biscuit.”

“I wanted to do it,” he recalled. “No one held a gun to my head. I jumped at the job.”

From 2001 to 2003, he barely saw his wife and two children. Every day was frightening, he said.

“Absolutely. You have never-ending paranoia: ‘Have I made a mistake that I’m not even aware of?’ These are violent dudes, and if they find out that you’ve betrayed them, they’re going to put a box cutter to your throat and that’s the end of that.”

The gang was about to make him an official member, he said, after he and a colleague staged a fake murder of a rival bike gang member. Instead, the probe ended with indictments of more than a dozen Hells Angels. The charges ranged from murder to rape.

The prosecution was less successful. Some pleaded guilty, and lesser sentences were handed down. In some cases, the charges were dismissed altogether. Dobyns said internal disputes between prosecutors and the ATF over presenting evidence and exposing informants weakened the case.

After coming out of the deep undercover role, Dobyns said he became the ATF’s “golden boy” for his heroic work. But when he started complaining about the ATF’s lax response to threats, he suddenly became a malcontent and traitor.

The first reported threat came in 2004, according to his lawsuit, when a Hells Angel member in Tucson saw him on the street and said that he knew where Dobyns lived, that he had a wife and kids and that he was “going to get hurt.”

The same year, the suit says, a confidential source had a cellmate in Arizona, a Hells Angel whom Dobyns had put away, who wanted to murder Dobyns. In another instance, Dobyns said, prison officials intercepted a letter from a gang member who said he wanted to rape Dobyns’ wife and make Dobyns watch the videotape before he killed him.

Dobyns wanted the ATF to act, but he said the agency told him not to worry and that the man was behind bars.

“ATF didn’t not only knock on the guy’s jail bars, they ignored it,” he said. “Their response to me was ‘Don’t worry about it, this guy is locked up.'”

Dobyns said his reaction was “Are you kidding me? This guy has connections on the outside.”

By contrast, he said, the FBI would send someone to top mob guys after undercover agents were done with a case and say, “Those are our guys. They’re hands off. They better not receive a call at the house.”

Dobyns filed grievances internally, complaining of ATF’s lax response to the threats. He said the government moved him four times. He moved an additional seven times with his family at his own expense, “hoping to break the paper trail as to where I was at.”

Allegra, in his January ruling, noted that the Office of Inspector General at the Justice Department “opined that ATF should have taken threats against Agent Dobyns and his family ‘more seriously'” and that the agency “needlessly” delayed responding to them.

In 2007, ATF entered into a contract with Dobyns that promised to provide better protection and a hostile-free environment. It also agreed to give him $373,000 for all his troubles.

The next year, his Tucson home burned down at 3 a.m. one August night. His family escaped unharmed. He was in Phoenix at the time. In his suit, he says the ATF took over the case from the local sheriff’s department, but it did hardly anything before turning over the matter to the FBI.

Dobyns is quite certain it was the work of the Hells Angels. Since then, he said, he hasn’t received any real threats.

“I have concern for my life,” he said. “I’ve seen firsthand the violence and intimidation. I lived with it. I do not underestimate them. I don’t slough them off. But if I allow them to have me live in fear, then they’ve won. Then I’m Osama bin Laden living in the cave.”

As for his $4 million lawsuit, he said, “There’s not enough money in ATF’s budget to repay me for how my family has suffered.”

Ex-V.P. Cheney Says Waterboarding Should Have Been Option in Christmas Day Underwear Bomber Case

FBI and Justice Likely to Consult With Intelligence Community on Miranda Rights

intelligenceBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After all the unnecessary political grandstanding, the administration is doing what it probably would have done anyways in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing incident.

The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus, one of Washington’s premier reporters, writes that the Justice Department and FBI will “consult with the intelligence community on information about terrorism suspects arrested in the United States before deciding whether to read them their Miranda rights under a plan now under review in the White House, according to senior administration officials.”

“We are analyzing lessons learned [in the Detroit Christmas Day case] with the goal of ensuring full information from across the government is available to law enforcement personnel on the ground as they conduct interrogations and make decisions on how to handle terrorist suspects,” a senior official said Friday, according to the Post.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on History: A 1951 Feature on the FBI

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9Gbc1eBdNI

Feds in Texas Indict 25 Suspected Members of Colombian Drug Cartel

colombia
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In recent years, the spotlight has turned to the violent Mexican drug cartels shipping drugs into the U.S.

But on Friday, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales in Dallas announced the indictment of 25 suspected members of a Colombian drug cartel that moved massive amounts of cocaine into the U.S. through Mexico and Central America.

Authorities said the probe, to date, had resulted in the seizure of 7.5 tons of cocaine and $4.25 million in assets.

All 25 defendants are Colombian, and 21 are currently being detained in that country.

“In this operation, the agents, both American and Colombian, are literally reaching across hemispheres to strike a blow against a criminal organization that is a vital lifeline to several Mexican drug cartels,” the U.S. Attorney said.

Ex-Miami DEA Chief Tom Rafanello Gets Off in Obstruction Case: Judge Tosses Charges During Jury Deliberations

miami map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ex-head of the Miami DEA office Tom Raffanello got an early Valentines Day gift from an unlikely person: a federal judge.

In a surprise move, U.S. District Judge Richard Goldberg on Friday, in the midst of jury deliberations,  ordered the acquittal of Raffanello, who was accused of obstructing an SEC investigation by shredding documents to protect his employer, Allen Stanford, an accused swindler, the Miami Herald reported.

The judge concluded that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

Raffanelo had been Stanford’s chief of security. The judge also ordered the acquittal of a second defendant Bruce Perraud, who worked with Raffanello, the Herald reported.

“I’ve been a federal agent for 30 years and I believe in this country and I believe in the truth,” Raffanello told the Herald. “On the 22nd of February, I’m taking my infant daughter to Disney World.”

To read more click here.

Agent Tangles With ATF Over Troubles With Hells Angels

Jay Dobyns/his website

Jay Dobyns/his website

By Allan Lengel
For Aol News

WASHINGTON — From one vantage point, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Jay Dobyns still worries about the Hells Angels coming after him. From another, it’s his employer he’s more concerned about.

Dobyns infiltrated the Hells Angels from 2001 to 2003 in Arizona and wrote a New York Times best-seller about it last year. But now he’s locked in major legal fisticuffs with the ATF.

A $4 million lawsuit filed by the 23-year ATF veteran says the agency failed to abide by a 2007 written contract to protect him and his wife and two children against death threats from the Hells Angels. The suit, unfolding now in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, also says the agency failed to stop subjecting him to a hostile work environment for complaining about his safety.

In August 2008, Dobyns’ Tucson, Ariz., home burned to the ground in an apparent arson. Two months later, he filed the breach of contract lawsuit

For Full Story

Administration Appears Confused Over 9/11 Trial: President to Get Involved

obama-and-biden1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — You might not be wrong if you thought the administration is totally confused as to where to prosecute suspected mastermind of 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his co-defendants.

The Washington Post now reports that President Obama has decided “to insert himself into the debate” after he had asked Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. to pick the site.

The whole thing has turned into a political nightmare.

Previous reports indicated that the administration did a poor job of greasing the skids and building support in New York before announcing it planned to hold the trial there.

The political backlash has made the administration not only rethink the N.Y. location, but also whether to prosecute in civilian or military court,  the suspected terrorist Mohammed, who is often associated with a  photo in which he is having a very very bad hair day.

Holder told the Post he had not ruled out a trial in military court, though he said that is not what he would prefer.

“At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it’s done as transparently as possible and with adherence to all the rules,” Holder said, according to the Post. “If we do that, I’m not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding.”

To read more click here.